Who says you have to stay at home over the festive period and host extended family turning up for Christmas lunch? Or do you need an excuse to turn down the New Year’s cheese and wine invite from the neighbours two doors down?

We have all the excuses you need! Book one of these campsites and you can celebrate Christmas and New Year snuggled up in your ‘van. You don’t even have to cook.

Be careful to not overload your hook-up by going OTT with Christmas decorations!
Bah, humbug! Be careful to not overload your hook-up by going OTT with Christmas decorations!

Escape to the island!

If you want to feel that you’ve truly escaped, hop across the Solent and celebrate the festivities on the Isle of Wight. You don’t have to go as far as the Aussies with a barbecue on the beach. But a stroll along the coast after lunch could work up the appetite required for a second piece of Christmas cake.

Waverley Park is open throughout December and offers a spectacular location on the north coast of the island, on the outskirts of Cowes and with sea views from the fully serviced touring pitches. The site even has its own entrance to the seafront for that after-dinner walk.

You’ll have to cook Christmas dinner in the comfort of your own ’van, though, unless you take a 10-minute wander to one of the nearby restaurants in Cowes.

But if you fancy a break in the run up to Christmas, visit Osborne House (also within walking distance of the campsite). Here you can take part in a family-friendly Christmas adventure quest to see how Queen Victoria loved to spend Christmas. The event takes place within the grounds from 27th November to 23rd December and from 26th December to 2nd January.

Red Funnel Ferries operates from Southampton to East Cowes, with a two-minute drive to the campsite.

A grown-up child’s Christmas in Wales

Visit Wales and escape to Snowdonia! Find out what's on at Graig Wen

For a rural retreat with a difference, how about getting cosy at a small campsite in Snowdonia National Park?

Graig Wen, set in 45 acres of wild woods and meadows, is an award-winning campsite, including Best Campsite at the North Wales Tourism Awards. There’s stunning scenery right on your doorstep so if you’re tired of endless Christmas specials on screen, the view from your window won’t cease to amaze.

In nearby Dolgellau and Fairbourne there are excellent independent shops with an award-winning butcher, bakery/deli and plenty of supermarkets to stock up on essentials. There are also good local restaurants within a 10- to 15-minute drive, which are open over Christmas and New Year.

Or you could just order one of the Graig Wen breakfast hampers or festive hampers of local produce, stock up and stay warm after a stroll along the beautiful Mawddach Estuary.

On New Year’s Eve, Graig Wen traditionally has a bonfire at the campsite to which everyone is welcome for a glass of mulled wine or two – and some of owner Sarah’s homemade sloe gin!

A right royal party!

Carols and mince pies are the order of the day at The Camping and Caravanning Club's Sandringham site!
Carols and mince pies are the order of the day at The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Sandringham site!

While the royal family are picking over the remnants of the Christmas bird at Sandringham, you can have a good old stomp around their family estate.

OK, so you’re not going to be pulling crackers with Her Majesty, but you can enjoy a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie at The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Sandringham campsite.

The estate is situated close to the north Norfolk coast. There are more than 500 acres of country park to roam around on Christmas morning. It’s free of charge to enter the park and, if you’re in need of last-minute goodies to fill those stockings, the gift shop and visitor centre are open every day except Christmas Day.

The restaurants within the park are also open in the days leading up to and after Christmas Day, so you don’t have to go cold turkey for Boxing Day.

The Camping and Caravanning Club has 25 sites open over Christmas and New Year, and, in the past, many of them have dedicated festive events. So if Norfolk doesn’t tickle your fancy, somewhere else almost certainly will. Details of Christmas and New Year events at individual club sites are posted on the website.

York has it covered

Visit York to get in the festive spirit or escape for a peaceful Christmas
Visit York to get in the festive spirit or escape for a peaceful Christmas

We’ve got the perfect excuse to dig out your very finest Christmas jumper – and get plenty of wear out of it! There’s loads of festivities going on at adults-only York Caravan Park less than two miles from the centre of York.

York’s Christmas Markets run from 18th November to 23rd December, though the site remains open throughout the festive period, until 8th January. Don’t forget to decorate your ‘van – there’s a bottle of wine for the best decorated unit, and a small gift for everyone staying at the park for Christmas Day or over New Year.

Don’t forget, if the moths have attacked your reindeer-clad jumper and you’re in need of a new one, the beautiful city of York does Christmas very well – for both shopping and a multitude of festivals and festive events, including carol concerts in York Minster.

Collect your own Christmas tree

Want to really get into the Christmas mood? Arrive at Evergreen Acres Farm, a Camping & Caravanning Club CS near Solihull, before the big day and choose your own tree at the on-site Santa’s Fields Christmas tree farm. There’s a selection of different fir trees and you can also buy water-holding stands, lights and tree trimmings, mistletoe and holly plus garlands and wreaths  – perfect to hang on the caravan door and welcome Father Christmas if he can’t get down the caravan ‘chimney’.

Your tree-buying experience will be a magical one. There’ll be spectacular Christmas lights, mulled wine, hot chocolate, singing reindeer and a large sleigh for family photos. The CS, which is open all year, includes hardstanding pitches with electric hook-up and is surrounded by beautiful fir trees.

If you don’t want to cook, The Orange Tree, which has an excellent reputation for good food, is within walking distance.

Whether you’re at home or on tour, may you have a fabulous Christmas – and here’s to some fabulous touring in 2022!

You’re in Hall 6 Advice Lounge & Event Theatre at Van Live! See what else is happening on stage, or take me to the Show Guide.